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Engines of DiplomacyIndian Trading Factories and the Negotiation of American Empire$
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David Andrew Nichols

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469626895

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469626895.001.0001

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Running Hard and Falling Behind

Running Hard and Falling Behind

(p.127) 7 Running Hard and Falling Behind
Engines of Diplomacy

David Andrew Nichols

University of North Carolina Press

The War Department took some time to acknowledge how precipitously Eastern Indian military power had declined during the War of 1812. In the war's aftermath it revived its engines of diplomacy and alliance, its trading factories. A new superintendent, Thomas McKenney, rebuilt the factory system's supply network, re-established its transport channels, and opened several new trading houses. Some of the factories saw their business steeply decline in 1816-22, due to game depletion or growing private competition (including competition from Native American traders). Some, like Fort Confederation, Marais des Cygnes, and Prairie du Chien, did booming business. Many continued to serve as centers of everyday diplomacy and gift-giving, and even (as in the case of Spadre Bluffs) military alliance-building. As long as public support for them was forthcoming, the postwar factories could continue to perform the political functions they had assumed earlier in the century.

Keywords:   Cherokees, Competition, Land Cessions, McKenney, Trading Missions, Trans-Mississippi

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